University Network Shared Drive

I’m getting ready to “go-live” with my Retention Scheduling database at my university. Myself and my 3 staff will have access to the database on a network shared drive. Are there any special settings I should know about or set up? We can all access the same database at the same time, but just not the same record within that database – correct? How does saving changes work when multiple users are logged into the same database? Thanks, Dusty

On an Enterprise Panorama Server, shared access to the same file is managed automatically with Panorama handling the record locking as necessary.

When not on an Enterprise Server, a single file should NOT be accessed by multiple people at the same time.

Robert Ameeti
(949) 422-6866

Is there a server version yet for Panorama X?

Not yet, but you might consider holding your breath as I can feel it getting close. A lot of work has gone into it in the last few years of development.

Robert Ameeti
(949) 422-6866

Excellent - looking forward to it!

I’ll officially second everything Robert posted. You cannot have multiple users simultaneously accessing the database with the current single user version of Panorama X. That will result in data loss, you will be very unhappy.

I’m not sure if literally holding your breath waiting for Panorama X Server is quite a good idea, but it is getting close. I’m working toward a more detailed announcement soon.

Thanks all, I’ll wait for the enterprise version before going live. :grinning:

You didn’t say what you were doing with that data; Just looking at it, deleting it, editing it. Also, even though you wouldn’t be looking at the same record at that same time, would person B be looking at Person A’s record later? Or, from the retention Scheduling file, do each of the three persons have their own set of records?

Think on this … To add records - each person adds their unique records to their “own” database. At agreed upon time during the day, everyone logs out (lunch time, just before closing, etc.) and one process is run that appends the records in those three individual file to the Master Retention database.

To View All Records - each person has their own “shell” database. A simple procedure imports (with replace) all the MasterRecords in to the persons shell. If each person has their own “set”, instead of importing all to the shell, the procedure could filter just the appropriate records for that person.

To Delete Records - After updating all the edited (next on the list) and added records to the master database, the GOD person would have a procedure to find/delete any record. Best if this ability is tightly controlled. T’wer it me, I would also create a database that logs that activity so there is no question about when (and perhaps who - but you’d need a private code for each person) the Delete activity was done.

To Edit Records - Here’s where it gets interesting. It can be simple or complex, depending upon if more than one person would be editing the same record. I’m not talking about trying to access the record at the same time. I mean you change record X on you local database and later someone else changes record X on their local database. When the Update process is run, the last update will wipe out the previous. And there are ways around that - but I don’t want to solve “worst case scenario” in this post (but it’s doable).

The goal is to replace the old data with the new. One way would be, going down the edited records in the local database, finding their match on the master, deleting the old record and adding to new, edited, record. Remember to sort the master back in the desired order when done with it all.

Another way is to find the match on the master file and just compare the two records, field by field, and copy/paste to new info into the master file record. This method would solve the “two people editing the same record” problem, as long as they didn’t edit the same field.

A little more information about who is doing what to which records, and when, is necessary. If each person has their own record set they manage (add/edit/delete) - no problem at all. :smile:

Though I mentioned several processes, they can be combined in one local file. If a person can view all records but only edit/delete a subset - that can be accommodated too.

The basic theme is each person has their own local “shell” database that is used to manage the masterFile. By Local, I don’t mean it has to be on their desktop - I mean each person has their own shell file - where ever it is located (like on the school server).

All this, while ingenious, is simply a way to kludge around not having an enterprise system available yet. Since that’s what Jim is mainly working on, it’s worth waiting for (speaking as someone who made extensive use of the P6 enterprise system
back in the day), assuming that the university IT gurus don’t put the kibosh on it because they don’t understand and therefore won’t support Panorama. I ran into that when I moved to a new university and the gurus wouldn’t even talk to me…

Thanks Paul for the interesting/creative response. Here’s a short response to how we use Pan, I have a total of 33 databases… but only 5 are accessed, reviewed, and edited daily by me and my staff. The remaining databases are support, educational, reference databases for the many federal, state, and university regulations as well as educational databases for teaching our department contacts. They all are relational and do talk to each other of course. Two of my staff are in the field frequently working with, editing and appending department record information for our 260 departments, the 260 is misleading because many of the departments have up to 20+ divisions. So we all need access to the most current information.

With Pan6, which we are still using, we keep our primary databases on a shared desktop computer. When my staff communicate with or visit a department they take a copy of the specific database from the desktop computer to their laptop to make the edits, and then put it back on the shared desktop when done (usually same day). We leave a note by the shared desktop keyboard - so no one else takes and edits that database. Same is true when I frequently make programming/design changes to any of the databases.

We are currently waiting for a major state university guideline update from our governing agency that hopefully will be approved as a “rule of law” during the fall months of 2019. So I won’t go live with PanX until then - because of the many design changes I need to make. We are required by state law to re-certify our university retention schedule January, 2020. I am very interested in the Pan Enterprise version which will be very helpful when my staff are in the field.

Bill, I’ve never used the enterprise version with Pan6… but see a need for it in PanX, I do have a very good working relationship with my IT staff, so hopefully I won’t have any issues.

If that works for you now with the single user version of Panorama 6, you should be able to do the same thing with Panorama X right now. I don’t quite understand how this matches up with the question you asked at the top of this thread, where you asked about multiple users making changes at the same time. It sounds like currently you actually are being careful to make sure that multiple users do not make changes at the same time, only one at a time.

My staff want to put the databases on a shared network drive rather than the way we are currently doing it with limiting usage to/from the desktop computer. Using the shared network drive means that all three could be on the Retention Schedule database at the same time making changes, to different records, when working with their departments. This could result in data loss - right?


My staff want

I don’t blame them. What you are doing now sounds quite awkward. What you really need, like many others here, is Panorama X Server. So I’ll get back to working on that on this Friday evening!

Before I go I will drop a tiny bit of a preview tonight – here is a screen shot of the Panorama X Server Administration window running on my computer right now. As you can see, there are two shared databases open on two computers at the same time, including a copy of the demo US Airport database with over 19,000 records.

I can click to see the two computers this database is currently open on:

Each open copy of the database looks just as it usually does, except for the small network icon in the status bar, which indicates that the database is currently open for sharing with an active server connection.

I’d show you a screenshot of the server itself but there is nothing to see – it has no windows and normally it doesn’t even appear in the dock. It’s completely controlled from a preference window in a regular copy of Panorama.

I realize this tiny preview will probably bring up many more questions – please hold them for now. I’m working on putting together a much more detailed preview movie in the relatively near future, perhaps around the end of the month. There is way more to show than in these few screen shots, however, let me be perfectly clear that there are still several months of work left to complete this project.

P.S. One tiny additional preview tidbit – it took only 7 seconds to convert the almost 20,000 record US Airport database from single user to shared and upload it on the local network. Actually 6.992 seconds to be exact. Those of you that have used Panorama 6 Server will really appreciate how much faster that is.

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Great news
we have not converted to x yet because we need
multi user even if it just does the basic record locking.
thanks for continuing to work on this.

Bill, I never once had the support of the college’s IT department. They didn’t want Panorama; they didn’t even want Macs. They’d change policies without notice - like refreshing an image on a workstation that brought back out of date data or application versions. Nothing new there.

It appears dnorwood is using a scheme similar to what I suggested and converting that to PanX would not be effort lost. Because a lot of the work - forms and procedures - would still be in play if/when they move to “Multi-user”. There is also the consideration of reliability and exposure/recovery to data crashes. That’s especially a concern if Panorama is not embraced with open arms.

My college stopped using my Tutor program when they were ORDERED to hook the data capture/reporting up to their Web based Banner system. Now, if there’s a change in the reporting criteria, instead of the Department head having me adjust it in 15 minutes for minimum wage, she has to submit a request to a large, unknown (personally) entity with a $50,000/year support contract.

Back to norwood - I’d start with your simplest files, moving to the more complex, and bring them into PanX, but keep working/updating with your Pan6. There is a lot to learn. I’m guessing that once you can do everything you are doing now in PanX, your conversion to the server version might mostly entail taking that “Do not Disturb” note off the desk.

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Thanks for the quick preview of Enterprise Jim, I’m looking forward to the update later.

Paul (designer), I’ve already moved ALL of my databases to PanX over a year ago, and have made many, many improvements using PanX - and continue to make improvements. We are still using Pan6 to manage our current data, but it’s very easy to import 6 to X when needed - which I do periodically.

Hi All,
I am responding to this old topic, because it has all just happened to me. My Pan6 files have all been converted to PanX. The software was purchased, and we just uploaded the converted and updated (with data) files to the university server used by our laboratory. We never used the old Pan6 Enterprise server, since the need for multi-user use was fairly minimal. This worked well with Pan6 because if two people tried to open the same database, they received an error message that the file was in use. However, with PanX it seems no error message occurs when a second person opens a database and enters new data. The error occurs when they try to save, and as described in this topic, dataloss occurs and everyone is very unhappy. My question is if there is anything that can be programmed into the database files themselves that would send users an error message if the database is opened by a second person. Right now we have done what others described here and transferred the files to a single computer in the lab. However, that is very inconvenient. Any suggestions would be appreciated. We are anxiously awaiting PanX Server.

That message was not built into Panorama 6. It must have originated with the file server software. Panorama would just display the error. Panorama X also displays any error generated by the operating system, so I would expect it would work the same, assuming that the file sharing software is generating an error in this situation.

Bottom line, without the upcoming server version Panorama itself has no way to know how many people have opened the database, so there is no way for Panorama itself to generate this error.

For what it’s worth, the server version is now working well for early beta testers, so we will be expanding the availability to more testers soon.

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Jim, how can we be included in your next round of testers. We are desperate to move forward with he PanX Server.

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There will be an announcement about that.